Basalt river center plans advance |

Basalt river center plans advance

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT ” The Roaring Fork Conservancy has raised about one-half of the funds it is seeking to build a river center in a prominent spot in Basalt.

The conservancy has collected $1.6 million so far from “lead donors” in a fund-raising effort, officials with the nonprofit organization reported to the Basalt Town Council Tuesday night. The conservancy hasn’t launched a full-blown public fund-raising effort yet.

The conservancy plans to build a $3.3 million education center on land it bought from the city beside Old Pond Park. That site is just off the banks of the Roaring Fork River, so the organization’s education mission will be enhanced, officials said. The river center will feature classrooms, laboratories and public meeting spaces on the ground floor, with offices for conservancy staff on the second story. Exhibits featuring river ecosystems will be a prominent part of the center.

No target opening date was identified. Town officials wished the conservancy Godspeed.

“I look at this as something I’d rather get on the ground sooner than later,” said Councilman Gary Tennenbaum. He envisions the river center as something as important to Basalt as the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is to Aspen.

The conservancy staff and board of directors plans to raise more funds than those required for the new building. They also want to establish an endowment to ensure the building remains open and maintained well after construction.

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